Vancouver's Glacier Media posts $12.2-million quarterly loss, largely due to "impairment expense" related to COVID-19

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      B.C.'s largest publicly traded media company says its just-released interim financial results may need to be adjusted in the future, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      In its management discussion and analysis, Glacier Media said this is because new information "may emerge concerning its severity, its duration and actions by government authorities to contain the outbreak or manage its impact".

      "As a result, it is possible that circumstances may arise which cause actual results to differ from the estimates applied in these interim consolidated financial statements and such differences affecting Glacier's future financial position and results cannot be determined at this time."

      On Friday (May 15), the corporation included a $10.9-million "impairment expense" in its first-quarter operating statement.

      Its net loss for the period ending March 31 was $12.2 million.

      That was significantly higher than the $1.3-million net loss in the first quarter of 2019.

      In a footnote, Glacier stated that the impairment expense was heavily linked to the pandemic's impact on its cash-generating units.

      The most sensitive to COVID-19, according to Glacier, are its B.C. Community Media Group and its Commodity Information Group.

      On March 11, the World Health Organization described COVID-19 as a pandemic. That was followed by a severe economic contraction in Canada, throwing three million people out of work in March and April.

      On April 2, Glacier shut down the Vancouver Courier community newspaper and launched a print edition of Vancouver Is Awesome as an alternative means to distribute advertising flyers.

      Glacier's first-quarter revenue of $43.3 million was slightly down from the $44.3 million recorded in the same quarter of 2019.

      First-quarter advertising revenue of $29.27 million was nearly $1.4 million below the figure achieved in the first three months of 2019. Commercial printing fell by 20 percent to $1.7 million.

      However, its subscription, data, and services revenue increased by seven percent in the first quarter over January to March of 2019 to reach $12.3 million.

      Glacier's long-term debt rose from $18.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 to $23 million in the first quarter.

      In addition to its more than 60 online and print media outlets, the company owns the Glacier Resource Innovation Group, Glacier Farm Media, Castanet, REW, STP ComplianceEHS and ERIS (Environmental Risk Information Services).

      Glacier shares closed at 30 cents on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its market capitalization is $37.7 million.